Archive for January, 2016

Our own mythic journeys

I was pondering stuff the other day (okay I had time on my hands and my brain was just rambling on) after thinking about some of the masks I wear and the burlesque act I can put on for company.  That made me think about how I see myself as the star of my own life.  Don’t we all see ourselves as the center of our own universe; the star of our own reality show?  I’ve seen a lot of books that focus on discovering our “mythic journey” but I realize that I stumbled across living mine quite by accident.

Even as a child I associated my experiences with myths and legends. I used to read Greek and Norse mythology the way some kids read Dr. Seuss (although I read him too). I connected on a deep level to Persephone and her tale of kidnapping, rape and eventually rise to become Queen of Hades. Oddly enough I never felt sorry for Demeter who was inconsolable as she sought her missing daughter. I always saw it as Persephone’s act of rebellion. In my mind she deliberately ate those pomegranate seeds to get away from her mother. Maybe she felt this was her chance at autonomy, independence and maturity. How often do we see parent-child relationships that are so co-dependant that they can only be separated by something like this? I fully understand the desire to get away from one’s parents and be independent and the ruler of your own life. It resonated with me on a deep level. Although I connect with and understand Athena too, Persephone still remains my favorite Greek goddess.
Celtic Wisdom Queen of BattleCeltic Wisdom Combat of Knowledge

When I discovered Irish mythology it was the Morrigan who claimed my heart. She was strong, determined, powerful and even a little scary. She didn’t take shit from anyone – not Cuchulainn, not the Daghda, not anyone. She’s fierce! I was drawn to Macha too. I know she’s often considered an aspect of the Morrigan but her individual tales are compelling and full of independent spirit and power. I mean she cursed an entire Irish province so the men would be struck by pains in the face of impending battle and be incapable of fighting for several days. How kickass is that?!! I honor and admire other Irish deities like Brighid and Airmid but my heart belongs to The Morrigan. She inhabits those dark places that so many prefer to avoid. I find myself drawn to and captured by those dark places. I may not want to inhabit them all the time but I know they exist and can embrace the insight and wisdom they offer.

There are moments when I envision my relationship with my husband as a slightly more committed & traditional variation of what the Morrigan and the Daghda share. In fact I believe my husband shares certain traits with both the Daghda and Thor. He enjoys his beer and food. He has quite a sense of humor and laughs at his own screw ups. He is usually fair minded and willing to help out the underdog. It’s also quite easy to underestimate his intelligence and see him are more brawn than brains.

I have no idea if this approach would help others. I suppose that’s for each individual to determine. However I realize that sometimes finding connections between myths and my own life helps put things in context. It helps to know I’m not the only person in the world dealing with these types of experiences; I’m not the first and I won’t be the last. Seeing it as part of a bigger picture comforts me. At the end of the day I suppose that’s the most beneficial aspect of this exercise for anyone.

Transformational Star

Transformational Star

Transformational Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games (2006)
ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: Optimism, a message of promise, insight, inspiration and renewal. We each have a connection to a star in the sky and a place on the universal map of existence. Broadening one’s horizons. The healing of both body and mind. A flow of pure universal energy is available to you, you need only be open to receiving it.

TarotBroad’s Buzz:  I had to think about this card because at first glance it’s connection to the traditional associations of The Star was not apparent. But as I looked closer it began to dawn on me. The spider weaving her web is part of a never ending process. She weaves her web, it serves its purpose and she moves on. She weaves a new web, it serves its purpose and she moves on just as we weave our fate or our destiny – the warp and weft of our lives.

The spider is a reminder that when things seem hopeless we have the power to leave it behind and move on. We can weave a new reality for ourselves, we can sprinkle our lives with the energy of the stars if we wish. The crescent moon is also a reminder of change – she experiences monthly cycles of varying degrees of darkness and light. She is a reminder of the saying “it is always darkest before the dawn”. That is the power of The Star. She is that pinpoint of brightness that pierces the darkest night bringing the first inkling of new possibilities.

Stars decorate the darkest night sky and bring us a sense of awe and wonder. How many times have you stared at the stars and wondered if there is life on their planets or what lies out there among the stars. Science fiction authors have woven thousands, if not millions, of wondrous tales to answer that question. And what many of them share is a sense of optimism, a hope for a new beginning. That is what this card represents – hope, optimism and the promise of new possibilities and new potential.

Exploring behind the mask

The other day I got a writing prompt from Psyche’s Call that asked me to consider what hides behind my mask. Of course I would deny I have a mask – I like to claim that I’m as deep and mysterious as a babbling brook. Of course that’s bullshit. We all have masks we hide behind and roles we assume according to environment. At the same time I clearly have a bit of resistance to seeing mine so I decided to ask the Tarot.

Transformational 9 of Wands

I used Arnell Ando’s amazing Transformation Tarot (one of my favorites for this type of work) and asked “What hides behind my mask?” I drew the 9 of Wands. In a traditional RWS based Tarot deck this image would show someone pausing for a moment of respite after having survived a clearly exhausting experience. This figure on this card is more contemplative and less worn out. There is a serenity and calmness to this card that I initially did not understand. Looking at it for a few more minutes finally gave me and insight. What lies behind my mask is someone who does have depth, who does love considering the interconnectedness of things. If you only know me on a superficial level or fall for the burlesque show I often put on in public venues, you might miss this. It’s an aspect of myself I closely guard and only share with trusted friends.

That made me wonder why I feel the need to maintain this burlesque act, to wear this mask. As with most masks, it’s a protective device. In childhood I learned that being a “thinker of deep thoughts” is not conducive to a peaceful childhood. I got teased a lot (in face sometimes I still do). I had friends who used to mock me for using “dollar words” rather that speaking the common tongue. I was proud of my knowledge and intelligence (maybe vain and arrogant could apply as well) and used as many “big words” as I could. To reduce the teasing I became aggressive. If perceived mockery or bullying, I struck back quickly. This often created additional problems that I preferred to avoid. So I learned to become more of a joker, a verbal fan dancer. I distracted others from my more sensitive, contemplative side by acting like a somewhat outrageous, opinionated, and over the top character. That character is a part of who I am but it’s not all that I am, not by a long shot.

A friend recently commented that she has learned to accept that she is different from the majority and her definition of success might be very different from theirs. I am the same way. I realized a long time ago that I don’t need to find fulfillment from my job. I have many other avenues for personal satisfaction and spiritual fulfillment. What I need from a job is that it not be overly stressful, time consuming or aggravating. I need a job that doesn’t take away from my true vocation and spiritual path. It may be that they will dovetail nicely someday but if they don’t I’m okay with that because I have become comfortable with who I am as well as the masks I wear. This is not the only one but it’s the only one I’ll share right now.

Fear & Loathing in La TarotBroad

I am a huge fan of the TV show Supernatural (I might have mentioned this before) and while watching a recent episode it occurred to me that even after 11 years of taking on all matter of supernatural creatures (including angels and demons) and emerging victorious, the two main characters (the Winchester brothers) still see themselves as worthless. They willingly sacrifice themselves for the greater good because they truly believe their only value is in their ability to save people. It’s heart-breaking and tragic to watch them fight their inner demons and try to convince each other they have value and worth.

Of course as I watched it I realized that I have the same tendency (as do many others I know). We all seem to willing to believe the worst about ourselves; to see ourselves are petty, venal and rather pathetic. We incorporate all the criticism, self-doubt and negativity aimed at us by the world but neglect the positive traits we possess, the good we do for others and benefits we bring to those in our lives. Why? Why do we all seem so willing to wallow in a trough of self-loathing? I have no idea. I’m sure psychologist and healers have been trying to answer that question for decades if not centuries. Sometimes it seems to me that the more free time we have, the more ways we find to fill our minds with negative attitudes and self-loathing. The human capacity for self-doubt and self-hatred is mind blowing.

So, if I can’t tell you why we’re like this then why am I writing this post? Because I am determined to wage a battle to stop or at least reduce this behavior in my own life & mind. How? Well, I do not have any clear answers to that so I decided to ask the Tarot. Using Arnell Ando’s wonderful Transformational Tarot, I asked “How can I release the self-doubt, self-loathing and inner demons that populate my psyche?”

I drew the 6 of Swords R, 3 of Cups + 4 of Wands.

The 6 of Swords tells me no one else can save me, this is something I must do for myself. No knight in shining armor will sweep me up and carry me away. This is a only I can steer my way through.

The 3 of Cups tells me that friendship, camaraderie and joy will help in this endeavor. Finding emotional support and people who can serve as sounding boards when things get bad; caring people who can counteract those negative voices we all hear inside our own heads.

The 4 of Wands suggests that I need to find stable and exiting creative outlets and support networks. Just as knitters love to talk to others knitters, we may all find our creative juices enhanced by interacting with folks of a like mind. It also helps to have a support network to guide and advise us when something gets screwed up.

So it would seem that the key to overcoming and releasing all those self-doubts and self-loathing; to slaying those inner demons is accepting responsibility for yourself and then making sure you surround yourself with supporting nurturing people who appreciate you for who you are and who enhance and appreciate your creative endeavors rather than tearing them down. We also need to make sure that we offer this same support and appreciation to friends and loved ones. I speak from experience – “positive criticism” can often come across as an effort to shred someone’s confidence and to sound superior. No one likes a know-it-all (trust me on this, I know of what I speak). It sounds so simple and yet I know so many who still allow this energy into their lives and continue to behave this way towards others. My goal is to call myself on this behavior when I am exposed to it and when I subject others to it. (Did that come off sounding know-it-all-ish and superior? I hope not!)

Mansions of the Moon Star

Mansions of the Moon Star

Mansions of the Moon Tarot
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

The Books say: The principle of self-esteem and confidence, knowledge being given out, principle of courage to be ourselves, opening to the Goddess, hope, a sense of healing and wholeness, especially after emotional storms.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: I love this image. It just brings to mind a sense of healing, purifying ourselves, washing ourselves clean. We can celebrate who we are and accept ourselves. We can gather fluid from the stars and sprinkle ourselves with star matter. As Crosby, Stills & Nash (maybe Young) sang “we are stardust”. This card brings that sentiment vividly to mind. I am able to grasp the star chalice and heal myself. This Star offers the healing power of the Holy Grail. It will make us whole again but we must believe it ourselves and in its power.

I just love how open and vulnerable the central female figure is. She is so focused on herself and her healing that she leaves herself unprotected and unshielded. She no longer needs her protective armor. She is open to the healing energy of the stars and the water and the amethyst. She is a reminder that in order to truly heal ourselves we must also risk coming out of our shell and being vulnerable. Only then can we truly experience the magic and wonder of The Star’s energy.

Celtic Wisdom Dreamer

Celtic Wisdom Dreamer

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says: The Dreamer shows the god Noden, aka Iriel Faith (True Seer) and Nuada Airgetlam (Silver-Arm) who had a healing and dream incubation shrine on the banks of the Severn. The two-headed nature of the god represents outward sight of the physical senses and the inward sight of the seer or dreamer. The yew is the Celtic tree to the Otherworld, gateway to the Land of Promise. Its evergreen spines and red berries create the appearance of a tree on fire.
Keywords: Hope, insight, inspiration, healing, unconditional love, optimism, keeping faith, dreams, aspirations, widening horizons, promise and opportunity, a period of calm after storm, recovery.
Reversed: Hopes dashed, doubt, short-sighted outlook, poor health, negative self-image, pessimism, insecurity, self-doubt, lack of trust, swept into a spiral of activity.
Soul Wisdom: What is the important source of refreshment in your own life?

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The image on this card is reminder that The Dreamer (Star) is about healing and renewal. It is about looking back to see where we come from so that we can heal ourselves. If we don’t remember what the roots of our illness are then how can we hope to heal. Sometimes facing the past is the hardest thing to do. We have already survived the earth-shattering Tower and we want to focus on the hope and healing offered by the The Star but is we don’t remember what we learned during that Tower moment.  We don’t incorporate it into our lives and that may limit our ability to heal.

The Dreamer shows that we need to look within and without, behind us and ahead of us in order to fully experience the healing energy of this card and the hope it represents. Hope is more than just closing our eyes to reality and ignoring it. Hope is facing the reality in our lives and still believing that things will work out for the best. In fact in some healers are beginning to realize that if a patient doesn’t have hope, faith and optimism then any treatment may ultimately prove unsuccessful because these things are necessary for us to heal on a spiritual and psychic level.

If we believe we can heal, then we can. There is a phrase (which is almost a cliche) if you can dream it you can achieve it or as the Rocky Horror Picture Show suggests “don’t dream it – be it”.  Both offer similar insight. Dreams are an important part of who we are as humans and if we allow ourselves to appreciate them, our hopes, dreams and optimism can help us reach our goals. Dreams can heal us and make us whole; they can open us up to new possibilities and potential. But we have to be willing to take that chance and open ourselves us to the healing powers of the Dreamer.

Blankness and Joy

Have you ever felt completely blank; uninspired, uninteresting and unintelligible? I feel that way today. I want to write an amazing blog post that will explode minds, expand horizons and elevate consciousness. Instead I’m drawing a blank. This is one of the rare moments in my life when I have nothing to say, or at least nothing I’m willing to write on a public blog. So in desperation, I am going to turn to the Tarot and pull a card to inspire me. I drew the Page of Cups reversed!

Legacy of the Divine Page of Cups

My first reaction was “Oh great, a freakin’ court card!” Court cards can be something of a pain in the butt to interpret on occasion. Then I thought about it a bit more and laughed. I got the sense the Tarot was telling me to stop being such a crybaby and grow up! Of course you have things to write about, just look into your heart! So I did.

At first I was still drawing a blank. Then I realized there are a few things lurking around in there that I can share. I’ve been doing some work lately about determining my heart’s desire, my deepest, truest heart’s desire. Like a lot of folks, I’ve been acculturated to think that my heart’s desire rests in possessions, wealth or status. It doesn’t. For years I rode that horse and it finally died of exhaustion. My life experiences over the past six years have shown me that money may help relieve some stresses in life but it genuinely does not bring happiness.

Instead of yearning for things I cannot possess (especially right now), I’m looking deep within to learn more about myself and what truly makes me happy. For too long I allowed myself to be distracted or convinced myself that I wasn’t really interested in things that truly nurtured my soul. What the hell happened to me? The same thing that happens to so many of us – we think that growing up means giving up all the things we loved as children. Well I say to hell with that! It’s time for me to revisit those childhood things that brought me joy like coloring, writing poetry and talking with gods! I want to find new things that fill my heart with joy too like learning a new skill or refining an old one. I can do it! So can you! So what if people tell you to grow up, nothing says we have to listen. Let’s embrace that inner child everyone talks about so much. Let’s find ways to reconnect with that child-like sense of wonder and whimsy we had when we were young. Let’s play Kick the Can (for those of you who don’t get the connection, this was the title of a classic Twilight Zone episode)! Who knows what benefits we’ll uncover!

Oolong with Odin

I have recently begun re-acquainting myself with Runes. I have dabbled in them at various points in time. I know some of the basics of working with them but I want to explore them in more depth. I’ve begun connecting with the energy of the Rune aligned with each half-month (each Rune is assigned a two-week period over the course the year, in order). I have no idea who created this system but it seems a good place to start. I then pull another Rune each day to see what energies might impact me and how they connect to the energies of the Rune associated with the half-month. Based upon the message I get from the joined energies of the two Runes, I then draw two Tarot cards for further insights or clarification. So far it has worked  well. This process is allowing me to begin working with the Runes on a deeper level. However I kept feeling blocked; as though there was more to be gained but I could not access it. After pondering this for a while I realized that my problem is I was avoiding connecting with Odin, the Norse god of magic, runes, war and a plethora of other areas who also happens to rule the Aesir. That’s like learning to drive a car via computer simulation. You may grasp the concepts but you’ll be limited in true understanding.

I’ve been wary of working with Odin for a loooong time now. In the myths, he is often portrayed as quite the trickster. He has his own agenda and we may not fit with it the way one anticipated. I have always felt more drawn to Thor and Tyr for their more plain-spoken and honorable approach to matters. For the most part Thor is not very straight-forward and Tyr’s word is his bond. Odin take a more diplomatic approach to matters in that he doesn’t lie but may not reveal the full truth either. His connection to Loki has also worries me a bit. I can understand the benefits Loki brought to Asgard but his tricksy, sometimes malevolent nature does not appeal to me. All that has become a moot point because I realize that if I want to truly understand the Runes then I need to work with Odin.

Legacy of the Divine 9 of Coins

So yesterday I sat down and had a chat with Odin. I asked if he would find a daily cuppa tea an acceptable offering for picking his brain. In response I drew the 9 of Coins (being more familiar with Tarot I used them for this conversation) which I’m taking as a resounding yes! So I made up each a cuppa oolong tea (Flower of Asia to be exact) and pulled a Rune – Othala, to go along with the Rune of the half-month Eihwaz. I then proceeded to ask Odin questions about the connections between these two Runes and how their energies work together and complement each other. It was a very interesting process. After each question I would pull a Tarot card. If I didn’t understand the response I could pull another card for additional insight but that didn’t happen. Each response I got from Odin made complete sense to me. It was exhilarating! I’m very excited to see where this journey will lead me. For now I’m taking baby steps but very much like a toddler I’m feeling quite a sense of accomplishment already.

Wheel of Change Star

Wheel of Change Star

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
ISBN #0-89281-609-0

The Book says: A galaxy swirls around its creative center. IN a reading this powerful card symbolizes creative potential and the ability to shine out and radiate confidence in its application. You have the opportunity to stand out in the crowd and to present yourself and your ideas in ways that influences the outcome of the situation. Confidence flows through you, and you feel as if your creativity and potential for expansion amplify the power of your ideas. The expanding spiral of your influence begins with a creative spark – and indeed, you are at the center of the galaxy. Every idea and creative impulse gives us the potential to shine for others, and through the diversity of our experience and the variety of our ideas we all are able to be the central star.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: I just love the energy and radiance that swirls across this card. There is something about it that connects with The Empress for me – that feeling of being the center of someone’s universe and the world spinning around your axis. That must be how a baby perceives its mother and vice versa.

This card brims with potential and hope. I love the concept of a central creative force, it brings hope that even if humans don’t clean up their act this central creative force will find a way to keep life going and the universe will go on. We may like to think that humanity and Earth is the center of the universe but on some level we all know better.  I love how the Star Maiden blends the fiery, brilliant orange & yellow energy with the calmer, serene blue and silver energy. She both feeds it and is fed by it – a reminder that we are all yin and yang, masculine and feminine. There may be moments when one aspect dominates (or when we prefer to focus on one aspect) but we are a composite of all these energies.

It’s funny but when I was looking at this card a line from the movie Boogie Nights popped into my head (what can I tell you – I flash on some really unusual connections). I remembered the scene at the end of the movie when Dirk Diggler has returned to working with Jack Horner. He is dressed in a white Miami Vice type suit, standing in front of the mirror and he unzips his fly and reveals his “gift”. And as he does so he says to his reflection “I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a star”. And in some ways the end of this movie does reflect the hope and faith present in The Star. Despite all of Dirk’s mistakes and experiences, he still finds his way back to the one place he was happy, the only true family he has ever known. And he is forgiven and reinstated to his place at the hearth. That to me is what Star energy represents. No matter how far we may have wandered, her light still shines on us (even when we live in places where it is impossible to see her) and blesses us with her energy. Even in NYC during the blackout, when everything around us was dark, the Star Maiden blessed us with her gifts and took away the fear for just a little while.

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